Fujiwara no Kenshi (藤原賢子)

FUJIWARA no Kenshi (Kiyoko) (April 994-October 22, 1027) was the second daughter to FUJIWARA no Michinaga, who had the title of Sessho (Regent). Her mother was MINAMOTO no Rinshi. She was the Chugu (Empress) of sixty-seventh emperor, Emperor Sanjo. Her other name was Biwadono Kotaigo (Empress Dowager Biwadono). Her daughter was the Imperial Princess Teishi (the Empress of Emperor Gosuzaku). Her maternal siblings were FUJIWARA no Yorimichi, FUJIWARA no Norimichi, FUJIWARA no Shoshi (Akiko), FUJIWARA no Ishi (Takeko), and FUJIWARA no Kishi (Yoshiko).

She was assigned with the Jo rank (court rank) of Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and Naishi no tsukasa (Palace Attendants Office) in December 1004. She gained the rank of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) in January of the following year. She gained the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank) in January 1010 and underwent Judai (marry into the imperial court) to Imperial Prince Okisada (later Emperor Sanjo) in February. Imperial Prince Okisada ascended the throne and received the imperial proclamation of Nyogo (imperial consort) in 1011. She was promoted to be the Chugu in 1012. Emperor Sanjo retired in 1016 and passed away in 1017. She became the Empress Dowager in 1018. She became a priest on October 22, 1027 and passed away on the same day. She died at the age of thirty-four.

When Kenshi underwent Judai, the former Emperor Ichijo was still alive, but the Imperial Prince Atsuhira (Emperor Goichijo) of her older sister, Shoshi was already determined to be the next crown prince. It was already determined that Michinaga would eventually become the maternal grandfather and Sessho to the emperor if things went well, but he sent Kenshi to Emperor Sanjo, who he had little connection with, as the second safety net to gain the residence of imperial court. Since the emperor already had four sons with his queen FUJIWARA no Seishi (FUJIWARA no Naritoki's daughter) from the time when he was Togu (Crown Prince) it was without question that Kenshi's destiny was to sire a male heir just like her older sister Shoshi. When Emperor Sanjo ascended the throne, Kenshi was promoted to Chugu without a question.

However, whom Kenshi gave birth to was the imperial princess (Imperial Princess Teishi, who later became Yomeimonin) in 1013. There was a hope that the birth of an imperial prince by Kenshi would recover the awkward relationship between Michinaga and Emperor Sanjo over the promotion of Seishi to Empress the previous year, but it turned into nothing and Michinaga's mood turned foul over the birth of this imperial princess ("Shoyuki" (The Diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke)). No imperial prince was born afterwards and Emperor Sanjo had to resign his throne due to pressure from Michinaga and passed away soon after. The possibility that an imperial prince of Kenshi would ascend the imperial throne was lost, and because Imperial Prince Atsuakira from Seishi retired from being the crown prince after the death of Emperor Sanjo, the future male imperial line of Emperor Reizei came to a complete end.
(However, the female line continued through the Imperial Princess Teishi of Kenshi to Emperor Gosanjo)

Kenshi was the most beautiful among the daughters of Michinaga and had the personality of someone who liked gaudy things, since the older brother of Kenshi, Yorimichi lectured her for her servants of Kenshi wearing clothing that was too lavish. However, even though she was the empress dowager, she lost her position to appear in the center of the stage as she did not give birth to an imperial prince. She later lived in Biwadono of the estate she inherited from Emperor Sanjo with her only daughter, in April 1027, Imperial Princess Teishi and observed Imperial Princess Teishi to go under Judai (imperial marriage) to Togu Imperial Prince Atsunaga (later became Emperor Gosuzaku) and died of illness within half a year.
Even though Kenshi was frowned upon by her relatives for her lavishness, she underwent a purification of her body and a formal Buddhist service just before her death as Michinaga clung to her and mourned 'Where are you going, leaving behind old parents? Please let me accompany you" for the death of his second daughter following that of his youngest daughter Kishi.'
("Eiga Monogatari" (A Tale of Flowering Fortunes))

[Original Japanese]